Breathing exercises to help you nail karaoke

Having a hard time hitting the high notes while belting out your favourite karaoke hit? It could be the way that you’re breathing!

That’s right – although the average person might not realise that there’s an incorrect way to breathe, for most singers this is common knowledge. Proper breath support is crucial for your voice to reach its maximum potential.

So how do you breathe properly? How can you tell the difference between correct and incorrect breaths? This article will help you distinguish between the two, and show you some helpful (and silly) exercises for developing better control of your breath.

Incorrect Breathing

Let’s start by talking about what incorrect breathing looks and feels like. Warning: after reading this post, you may experience a slight case of paranoia, and you won’t be able to stop noticing your breath!

Take a deep breath as you would naturally and observe what happens to your body as you do so. Did you notice your shoulders or ribcage lift up and down? Did you suck your stomach inward, as you would if you were trying to look thinner? Did you strain your neck at all?

These are all signs of incorrect breathing. Don’t freak out, though. The truth is: most people breathe this way! Fortunately, with a little determination and persistence, these habits can be broken. We’ll go into more detail on how you can do that in the next section.

Incorrect breaths feel shallow and as if they’re coming from your chest area, rather than deep down in your belly. They’re not as full or strong as diaphragm breaths – which are necessary for enabling your voice to truly shine.

Correct Breathing

Breathing Exercises for singing properly

When taking a proper breath, like right before you belt out a Whitney Houston high note, you should feel your stomach expand. On the inhale, your body should actually be taking up more space in the room - which is the opposite of “sucking it in.”

There shouldn’t be movement anywhere else in the body. Your stomach should simply be filling up like a balloon. What does this feel like? Try lying on the floor, flat on your back. Rest your hands on your stomach and then take in a deep breath.

You’ll feel your belly rise, and then fall as you exhale. This is proper breathing, and you might notice some similarities with yoga. This is why a lot of professional singers love doing yoga – because it helps relax the body and reinforces proper breathing.

You may have heard a vocal coach or singer talk about “breathing from your diaphragm.” This is just a fancy name for the type of breathing we’ve described. It’s essentially breathing that uses the muscles in your lower core to allow your lungs to fill up completely with air.

So How Do You Make This a Habit?

To put it simply, incorrect breathing causes tension in the body. When you sing, you want your body to be as relaxed as possible. When your body is relaxed and you’re breathing the right way, you’ll have a more even tone and better pitch.

So now that you know the difference between good and bad breathing, what can you do to improve? There are plenty of breathing exercises designed to help singers control their breath and become more aware of it.

Check out the video below to learn how hissing like a snake and panting like a dog can help you master proper breath support.

Breathing correctly is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your singing voice. To set yourself up for success, add one these exercises to your warm-up routine the next time you’re about to take centre stage!

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